November 6, 2004

Game Piracy [4:02 pm]

Trio of Hot New Games Victimized by Piracy

A month before the video game’s scheduled release this coming Tuesday, illegal copies of the hot sci-fi action title “Halo 2″ were already circulating on the Internet. It’s had a lot of company lately.

Several highly anticipated games, such as “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and “Half-Life 2,” have fallen victim to copyright theft. Illegal, often incomplete versions have appeared on file-sharing networks, news groups and Web sites.

[...] There are many obstacles to snaring the thieves, much less prosecuting them. Many are based overseas, protected by a patchwork of law enforcement and copyright laws.

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How Much Onlining Complaining Is OK? [3:59 pm]

Or, as protestors during the conventions were essentially told this year, free speech is OK only when it’s ineffective/unheard? Web Site for Complaints Sparks Lawsuit

When Alan and Linda Townsend were unhappy with the sprayed-on siding applied to their house, the frustrated couple launched a Web site to complain and to give other unsatisfied customers a forum.

Visitor postings to the Web site said the product, Spray on Siding, cracked, bubbled and buckled. For their efforts, the Townsends got slapped with a lawsuit by the product’s maker.

The federal case may help shape the boundaries of online speech.

[...] The complaint filed by Alvis alleges that the name of the Townsends’ Web site, spraysiding.com, “is confusingly similar” to the official Alvis site, sprayonsiding.com, as well as its trademark “Spray on Siding.”

[...] Hartman said the company made three “formal generous offers” to the Townsends that were rejected. He said the lawsuit was a last resort.

The Townsends say one settlement offer from Alvis included a gag order barring them talking about the product and a demand that the couple sell their site’s domain name to the company. They decided they would rather fight so that other potential customers could be better informed about the product.

“As long as this stuff is on our house, we’re going to talk about it,” Linda Townsend said. “You could say we’re very idealistic about this.”

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USPS [3:49 pm]

A little off-topic - more about trademark than copyright (and not terribly new either), but worth noting: Postal Service Tale: Indie Rock, Snail Mail and Trademark Law

n honor of their working method they called themselves the Postal Service. Their album, “Give Up,” was released by the Seattle-based Sub Pop Records in early 2003 and became an indie-rock hit, eventually selling almost 400,000 copies, the label’s second biggest seller ever, after Nirvana’s “Bleach.”

Then they heard from the real Postal Service, in the form of a cease-and-desist letter.

Later: Wendy’s post at Copyfight - Postal Service to Promote Postal ServiceEmail This Entry (I, too, love the Garden State soundtrack — and the movie was pretty fine, too)

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OT: Supreme Court Politics [3:47 pm]

Two looks at what’s coming:

  • Supreme Court Memo: Life at the Court Proceeds, but With Sadness and Uncertainty

    A Supreme Court with an absent and ailing chief justice is very different from a White House with an absent and ailing president. While the president embodies one entire branch of government, the chief justice merely heads another.

  • Abortion Remark by G.O.P. Senator Puts Heat on Peers

    Lawmakers and aides said Mr. Specter’s comments have touched a nerve because Democratic resistance to Mr. Bush’s judicial nominees was a key element of Republican election campaigns and a likely factor in the defeat of Senator Tom Daschle, the Democratic leader, in South Dakota. In addition, the expanded Republican Senate majority is strongly anti-abortion.

    The outpouring illustrated how the party’s conservative wing has been emboldened by the White House victory and the strengthening of Republican majorities in Congress, potentially raising new hazards for moderate Republicans who might want to break from the president or House and Senate leadership on major issues.

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A Look at the iPod-ization of Music [3:40 pm]

Music at a Wheel’s Click, but Do We Really Hear?

To the beard-strokers and hand-wringers busy divining the future of opera houses and concert halls, the iPod brings news: some good, some not. Who could complain about this avalanche of music? But who can cope with it? Brant admits to the pressures of such superrichness. He feels obliged to listen for all he’s worth. He doesn’t deny that he may not be listening as well as he once did.

[...] In Brant’s aesthetic, music makes walking around more pleasant, like a good pair of shoes. Music as something useful is an idea that Paul Hindemith and other 20th-century composers disillusioned by the overblown Romantic mystique of music pursued, but with limited impact. The elevator-music industry paid heed and made a fortune.

[...] German musicologists told us in the last two centuries that music was sacred; you stopped doing anything else and listened. Another friend suggests that the iPod and devices like it demonstrate the end of communal music. Brant’s iPod acts more like a wall than an altar: he on one side, the honking and blaring of Sixth Avenue on the other. That he hasn’t been hit by a car while listening to the Kinks speaks for the existence of angels.

The iPod culture is not a sudden event. Record buyers have been taking the opera house into their living rooms for a century.

[...] Maybe an irreversible progression is under way: more kinds of music, fewer listeners for each kind. Bigger and smaller at the same time. Concert and opera life began with people gathering together to share the pleasure (or annoyance) of one another’s company. It may end with one concert hall per listener.

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